So, hear me out. It’s been a truly wretched couple of weeks, so I was in the mood to break something. I opted to take a break from “Tears of the Kingdom” to crush up some maritime vessels for some mindless destruction. Ship Graveyard Simulator does offer some pretty calming destruction, but unfortunately, the good definitely comes with pretty sizeable helpings of tedious grinding. However, if the prospect of repetitive grinding doesn’t dissuade you, Ship Graveyard Simulator may be the sort of escape you need.
Ship Graveyard Simulator is yet another simulator, but this time, you’re doing salvage on rusting derelicts littering the beach of a small coastal town. You mount up in your handy-dandy truck and go to plunder these wrecks for certain items, which you’ll then sell back to vendors for cash. You turn around and invest that cash into upgraded tools, including a lock pick that you’ll need to unlock lockboxes and safes. Once you have a certain amount of cash on hand, you can even order new scrap ships to be delivered for your dismantling pleasure.
There are quests that you can access from the locals, but these, unsurprisingly, are basically fetch quests, but completing them does result in an increase in your cash flow and XP generation. That’s pretty much it. As your resource pool increases, you can order increasingly complex ships to salvage, but at the beginning, I can only describe the process as tedious.
There is a day/night game mechanic, but I can’t really say that it matters much. You can hire help, which is nice, and you find said help by wandering around the beach and looking for someone with the correct headgear. There’s a bit of negotiation, in which you determine what skill level the employee is and whether they’re in your budget, and then, you’re off to the races.
The races, by the way, generally consist of you using your hammer to smash things into smithereens to acquire materials, though you do have the option of using a mop to salvage liquids such as oil. You eventually acquire the ability to melt down the items you’ve salvaged and turn them into new, potentially more lucrative items you sell. You also don’t have to worry about having to work too hard to identify salvageable materials or grading those materials because the resources are color-coded based on quality. Your best bet, generally, is just to swing at everything and keep going until you’re out of targets for your hammer.
With simulators, you expect a certain amount of repetition. Whether you’re cleaning your gas station, prepping your bus, or buying ingredients for your bakery, as in life, simulators realize that there are certain tasks that you will perform over and over ad nauseum. Most of the gameplay, then, centers around making these tasks fun and rewarding. Ship Graveyard Simulator does make an attempt at doing so, but really, this is not a challenging game.
I’ve been calling Ship Graveyard Simulator a simulator, and while it certainly has elements of titles in that genre, I think a better classification for it would be a time waster. I do not mean to imply that to be a negative thing by any stretch of the imagination. Time wasters are great ways to decompress or blow off steam, and as such, that’s a better descriptor for the appeal Ship Graveyard Simulator has. Gameplay is simple and streamlined if repetitive. Goals are achievable and clearly articulated, and the reward is more in the salvaging than in progressing through the skilltree.
Do not expect mindblowing graphics, because honestly, they’re pretty basic. You aren’t going to see beautifully rendered ocean waves. I don’t remember much about the soundtrack, which means it did a nice job of receding into the background, but I did really like the sound-effects. The developers really paid attention to how doing work like this would sound, and that made the experience more immersive than the graphics would normally allow.
The Switch port I played was actually pretty decent, but the game is not without bugs. The climbing animation is particularly bad, and just be prepared for screen tears just…everywhere. I found them distracting, but they may not bother other players as much.
Ship Graveyard Simulator isn’t going to win any awards, nor will it blow you away with complex and challenging gameplay. As a time waster, it’s a great way to spend a few hours on days in which you wished life had given you a sledgehammer.
Ship Graveyard Simulator retails on the Nintendo Store for $12.99.
- You do need to pay attention to how and where you’re working. There are dangerous items on board these ships, though I don’t recall having stumbled into an accident.
- Don’t worry about the lockpicking requiring solving a puzzle. It’s as point-and-click as everything else in Ship Graveyard Simulator.